Firefighters call attack by Goshen Twp. group home girls ‘personal’

Firefighters from Damascus and Green Township will not go to the Village Network group home without a police escort

Sharon Lynn Home for Girls, Goshen Township

GREEN TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Some firefighters in Mahoning County are taking a stand, saying they will not respond to a group home in Goshen Township that has been causing some problems without police officers present.

Firefighters from two nearby departments are on call to respond to the Village Network group home, previously known as the Sharon Lynn Home for Girls.

But on Monday night, Damascus Fire Department President Tom Rhodes and Green Township Fire Chief Todd Baird made it clear — they’re not going in until police say it’s safe.

“The girls will abuse us, they’ll swear at us, they’ll throw things at us,” Rhodes said.

He said police would respond first and when they tell fire crews it’s safe, then firefighters will go in.

Chief Steven McDaniel said as long as they’re not on a more immediate call, they’ll provide an escort.

The departments made up of volunteers took a vote on the issue, though they will still respond first if there’s a fire.

“The members felt that our family was attacked and we are no longer responding there on a mutual aid basis,” Baird said.

On April 3, three teen girls walked away from the home and tried to burglarize the home of two Green Township firefighters several miles down the road. The girls assaulted them, hitting and kicking them in the face.

All three girls were arrested and taken to the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center.

“When you attack two members of our family, we take it personal,” Baird said.

Rhodes said Goshen police have responded to over 650 calls to the home in the last ten years. Neighbors have been complaining about it since at least 2014.

In 2015, the Wooster-based Village Network — a nonprofit providing shelter for girls with mental and behavioral problems — bought the house.

Village Network has not responded to a request for comment. A woman who answered the door at the group home Monday night said they didn’t have an official comment, but that they’re working with police on a solution.


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